KIEV, Ukraine (Mar 30, 2015) – The Regional Stability in the South Caucasus (RSSC) Working Group convened an international panel of experts from 26-28 March in Kiev. The meeting was organized under the framework of the Partnership for Peace Consortium (PfPC) in collaboration with the Austrian Defense Academy and was the 11th in a series of workshops aimed at promoting regional stability in the South Caucasus.
Participants included representatives from Armenia, Azerbaijan and Nagorno-Karabakh; Georgia and South Ossetia; Moldova, Russia, Ukraine and Crimea; Austria, Canada, Germany, Romania, the UK, and the US. The group examined regional conflicts through the novel use of historical comparison and simulated negotiations, with the goal of formulating policy recommendations for subsequent distribution to decision makers.
For the first time since the working group’s inception in 2001, the group enacted simulated negotiations, between Azeri and Armenian as well as between Georgian and South Ossetian participants. The exercise proved valuable in enabling the parties to better understand one another’s views.
The RSSC group plans to release policy recommendations which will address 1) the return of Internally Displaced Persons, 2) promoting more open travel between borders, 3) establishing and maintaining direct link communication channels, and 4) enhancing economic cooperation bilaterally and regionally. To support such practices, participants from the South Caucasus recommended the establishment of PfPC regional hubs to provide a politically neutral mechanism to facilitate the implementation of cooperative programs.
In preparation for a follow-up workshop, the group plans to conduct a South Caucasus-wide survey of civil society initiatives to better understand how non-governmental entities can play a larger role in conflict resolution. Such a survey would be a first of its kind and the results are to be incorporated into the agenda of the group’s next session, planned for 12-15 November in Reichenau, Austria.
For more information on the RSSC Working Group, please visit www.pfp-consortium.org.